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Hiking from Lukla to Namche Bazaar?

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Hiking from Lukla to Namche Bazaar?

Postby Peak Baguette » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:29 am

I am doing a quick side-trip to Nepal in conjunction with a trip to Bhutan in late September/early October. I'd like to dayhike from Lukla to Namche Bazaar, but everything that I've read recommends doing this as at least a three day hike (Lukla to Phakding, Phakding to Namche Bazaar, then Namche Bazaar to Lukla). The low point of the trail is around 8800' (in Phakding), so I think that the total altitude change is only around 2500' and the distance is only 10 miles or so one way. I think of parallel California hikes and I wonder if the trip will really take that long - based on the distance and altitude change, it looks a lot like Vogelsang Peak from Mono Pass Trailhead in Yosemite.

Can anyone advise if this can be done as a dayhike or at the longest a 2-day hike? Would I need to hire a guide or is the trail straightforward? Would I need any special equipment in September?

Thanks so much in advance for any guidance you may be able to provide.
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Postby teahupo26 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:11 pm

wouldn`t think you could do it as a day hike,more like 3 days to get there if u want to enjoy it at all. you`l fly from ktm to lukla which is at 2,800 metres and namche is at 3,500 and its a long old walk up there. id say put away 3 days!
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Postby eje138 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:22 pm

I did the Lukla-Namche distance in two very convenient days with a bigger group as a part of a trek to Kala Pattar. We were not in a hurry at all. We took our time to have our lunches on the terraces of tea-houses and even so we always arrived to our camp sites before 2 PM. If you arrive to Lukla with one of the early flights (around 7 AM), don't have a lot to carry and of course if you are in good shape it is definitely doable in one day. The question is more like, is it worth the rush. Will you be there to train or to take the time and look around? An other thing is, that after 2 PM the chance for some rain or snow becomes much higher.

For the Namche-Lukla leg, if you want to do the whole trip as a day hike, you must leave extremely early, because the flights to Kathmandu leave right after dropping off the incoming passangers and taking on the outgoing. (Sometimes they don't even stop one of the engines.) The last plane leaves before 10 AM, because the weather can become dangerous as the day progresses. Most people (us included) spend a night in Lukla to be surely there early enough.

To cut it short, it's almost impossible to do it in one day, it's possible to do it in two, but with questionable enjoyment factor, best option is to give it three days.

I can't help about the September/October weather, I was there in April.

The trek is safe and straightforward. It's hard to get lost even if you want to. I have seen trekkers alone and with personal guides also. With a small pack for max. three days I wouldn't hire a porter or a guide. (But I'm a man, ladies might feel differently.)
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Postby radson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:29 pm

It takes about 4 hours for a fit Nepali to get between the two points.

I generally go up in 2 short days and return in about 6 hours.

Acclimatisation is not a huge issue. The Hill from the park entrance to Namche is a bastard but takes roughly 4 hours.

Its definitely a possible side trip for someone of good fitness and endurance. Any extra days too stretch it out a bit would be better.
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Postby Mal Haskins » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:21 am

2 days defiinaltey to get there if you are not acclimated - you could make there in one day if yo really really hoofed it.

You'd also be able to get back to Lukla the next day if you just left the next morning by no later than say 11pm

Probaby the best way would be to allocate yourself 5 days
Day 1 and 2
Flying into lukla and spending 2 days to walk up
Day 3
wandering around Namche, Sangyboche and or up to Thame
Day 4
Back to Lukla
Day 5
you fly back to KTM day

flying out can sometimes be a hassle - try to be booked onto the first or early flights out. Very little likelyhood that you could walk back to lukla and lfy out on the same afternoon - it does happen - just not very reliably
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Postby Helle » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:56 pm

I have walked from Lukla to Namche in one day - and from Namche to Luka as well in one day. If you are well acclimatized and in good shape it won't be a problem. If you come from Bhutan, you probably will be.

They will check you for guides or outfitter's company on the way, because it is illegal to travel without. But the trail is very much straight forward, and you won't miss the direction. if you travel alone, you might just make a deal with a company to sign for you.
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